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The plan comes cloaked in a sly smile and an overwhelming air of confidence, which offers assurances that everything will click together perfectly if for no other reason than Winston believes it will.
Still, the details of his plan to balance football and baseball remain a closely guarded secret, with Winston offering only vague hints.
Joel Auerbach/Getty ImagesJameis Winston scored 112 touchdowns in high school, but was redshirted and limited to a cheerleading role in his freshman season.”This spring is going to be fun,” he said.
Indeed, there might be no more tantalizing storyline, more audacious situation or more high-profile athlete at Florida State this spring than Winston and his quest to become the Seminoles’ starting quarterback on one field and starting left fielder — and potentially closer, too — on another.
The 6-foot-4 freshman already is something of a mythical figure. A year ago, he was the nation’s top quarterback recruit. He also was drafted in the 15th round of the Major League Baseball amateur draft by the Texas Rangers. He never has thrown a pass in a college game, but he already has burnished the myth by supposedly throwing footballs over a fraternity house on campus. He’ll take his first cuts for FSU’s baseball team this weekend, and head coach Mike Martin is considering giving Winston’s low-90s fastball a look at the back end of the bullpen, too. ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer recently suggested Winston could be the first overall selection in the NFL draft in 2015, but right now, Winston says he’s primarily focused on baseball.
“It’s about a 60-40 thing,” Winston said. “I’m mostly 60 with baseball, because I’ve got to get back in the groove with things, and about 40 on football because I’ve got to stay fit and ready for the spring.”
This is where the plan comes in.
For now, baseball can be the priority. The Seminoles’ season kicks off this weekend, and Winston has the luxury of focusing on the diamond for the next few weeks. But spring football starts in March, and that’s when Winston’s attention will be split — at least according to his coaches.
Martin said he has met with Jimbo Fisher, and the rules for Winston are simple: Football first, baseball second. But ask Winston, and things aren’t quite so cut and dry.
“I know I’m both,” he said. “During baseball season, I’m a baseball player. During football season, I’m a football player.”
For fans, this mantra can stir some concern. After all, Winston already has been deemed the savior at Florida State. He’ll be the next Heisman Trophy winner, a bigger, stronger version of Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, a dual threat destined to carry the Seminoles back to the promised land. Hyperbole comes with the territory.